The Demand/Supply Planning Practice

The Story: A friend of ours,  the CEO of a $3B firm, told us something  that in many companies could be considered IT heresy.  The CEO believes that his business is critically dependent on IT, in particular how IT can make information available in new ways to support the strategies of the company.  What he told us was that the idea that IT was an enabler is a cop-out for IT.  “Enabling is much too passive for me.  IT needs to be very proactive in telling me how it will be used in the business, and what we can do differently in our strategies.”  He went on to explain that this was a planning problem.  Business expects IT to respond to its needs, but both business and IT also need to develop a clear strategy (in business and business impact terms) for how they intend to use IT in the business.  This isn’t a system definition issue, it’s a business use question.  Business and IT must define a common ground between the business plans and the IT plans that addresses the use of IT in the business.

We believe that there is  a missing link between business and IT planning which prevents business from making the best use of IT in supporting its goals and strategies.  We call this missing link the “Strategic Agenda for the Use of IT”, and believe it is a requirement for effective IT planning in any business.  The business needs a three-part plan for IT, consisting of the business strategic plan, the IT strategic plan, and the Strategic Agenda for the use of IT which ties together business and IT strategic plans.

Next Page:  The Demand Supply Planning Approach


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